The general rule for furnaces is that replacements are most often needed every 15 to 20 years. Within that age range, most furnaces will be worn out and probably damaged in enough small ways so that they will not operate efficiently. Replacement may be required after 15 years, especially if they are not maintained regularly. Lack of maintenance and efficiency can lead to higher energy bills, but it can also seriously affect the air quality of your home. If you’re finding that your home always feels really dry, stuffy, and you feel more tired and sick all the time, you should look into replacing your furnace. Here’s how old furnaces ruin the air quality of your home.
Carbon Monoxide should always be a serious concern for any home, regardless of its age or type. However, if you have a combustion style furnace that runs on propane, oil, or natural gas and is getting on in years, you are at a higher risk of toxic gases like carbon monoxide. This is because carbon monoxide is a byproduct of combustion. Here are some symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Headaches, dizziness, mental confusion and loss of consciousness
- Nausea, vomiting, and decreased muscle coordination
- Heart and brain damage
So as your combustion furnace gets older, its ability to operate efficiently gets increasingly compromised. The toxic gases such as carbon monoxide are odorless and invisible, so you wouldn’t even notice it without a proper detector.
Dirt & Debris
Part of the reason why old furnaces get compromised efficiency is because of the buildup of dirt and other debris. Staying on top of replacing your air filters will help mitigate it, but no filters are perfect and will always let some debris through, such as:
- Larger debris such as lint, dirt and dust mites
- Allergens such as pollen, pet dander or mold spores
- Bacteria, smog, and viruses
It all adds up after long enough period, and over time your furnace will get worse at filtering out these things and will start circulating them through your home. You will have to replace the air filters more often, and much more will get through into your home.
Air ducts are the primary way that your furnace sends heat through your home. Once your furnace is old enough that it starts blowing increased levels of toxic gas and debris, it will all start building up in the air ducts themselves. This can create a lasting issue for a while even if you wind up replacing your old furnace.
If you do not also clean your air ducts when you get a new furnace, all that debris and gas residue will still be there when your new furnace continues to blow air through them so your air quality will still be compromised. It might not be as severe a problem as before, but that is another effect that old furnaces have on the air quality of your home.
Humidity & Dry Air
As furnaces get older, the other part that gets compromised is their ability to properly regulate the humidity or moisture levels of the air it circulates through your home. The older it gets, you’ll probably start to notice that the air in your home feels much drier than usual, especially in the winter when your furnace is more active. Here are signs you might also notice caused by such dry air conditions:
- Dry throats and skin
- Drooping plants
- Cracking wood furniture
- Greater static build up
Such dry air can exacerbate allergies and skin conditions, as well as just being unpleasant to live in for any length of time.
Your humidifier is mostly responsible for maintaining ideal humidity within your home. However the furnace is still responsible for distributing that humidity throughout your home. Newer furnaces provide more efficient and better performing blower motors that can help improve humidity levels in your home.
If you’re looking for a great effective gas furnace replacement, why not consider the Rheem Furnace series options. See a list of all other brands we specialize in here. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, it’s always great to find a HVAC expert that can take care of your needs quickly and Accuserv Heating and Air Conditioning does just that. Reach out today for all your heating and cooling needs.
For more information on furnace care and your home’s air quality, see: Is It Always Serious If I Smell Gas?